The New Yorker has been putting a premium on Web content in the past year, launching new verticals like Books and Humor and features like the "Double Take" archives blog and daily cartoons and publishing more online-only reporting. That digital push appears to have paid off: April was the best traffic month ever for NewYorker.com, with 10.7 million unique monthly visitors (a massive 129 percent year-over-year increase) and more than 33 million page views. (Outside web analytics firm ComScore, which typically reports lower traffic numbers than publishers' internal ones, recorded 3.8 million monthly desktop uniques for NewYorker.com in April—still a 108 percent year-over-year increase.)
Some of the most popular stories for April included an article on The Saudi Marathon Man, several Andy Borowitz posts in the Humor vertical, an interactive New York Subway infographic (which received more than 500,000 hits) and David Remnick’s article about the Boston bombers. Notably, four of the five top Web stories were digital exclusives.
According to NewYorker.com editor Nicholas Thompson, the magazine’s editorial team has become much more engaged with the digital side, especially as its quality (and, in turn, traffic) increases. “We’re definitely encouraging writers to do more Web-original stories,” he said. “When the site is better, people are more enthusiastic about writing for it…There are some positive feedback loops that are created by the excitement for the Web.” A new emphasis on breaking news stories has also attracted readers, Thompson added: “When the Boston bombings happened, we knew how to react. The Internet wants to read smart takes on what’s in the news right now.”
Technical changes—from basic SEO improvements to tweaking the magazine’s Facebook open graph integrations, among various other back-end repairs—have also helped to boost traffic, said Thompson.
While traffic increased, advertising also saw a sizable boost. Between January and April of 2013, NewYorker.com ad dollars were up 118 percent year-over-year, with growth coming from sectors like enterprise technology, financial services, luxury and automotive. (The introduction of the Business and Tech verticals played a big part in attracting these new advertisers, according to a magazine rep.)